What is Kaffara for breaking an oath?


If someone swears to Allah (Qasam) to do something and then breaks his oath, he will have to pay the Kaffara for this sin. Is there a Kaffara for breaking promises as well?

  • Oath = Qasam.

Kaffara for breaking the Oath

Here is the Kaffara for breaking the oath sworn in the name of Allah;

  • Feed 10 poor people with what you normally feed your family or;
  • Clothe ten poor people or;
  • Free a slave.
  • However, if you cannot do any of this, fast for 3 consecutive days.
  • Al-Ma’idah 5:89

Keep in mind, that there are certain situations where Kaffara is not wajib (explained below).

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Kaffara for breaking the Oath

Oaths on which there is no Kaffara

Taking an Oath without Allah’s name

Islam does not allow Muslims to take oath on anyone’s name but Allah. However, if you do so, there is no Kaffara for breaking it.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: He who has to take an oath, he must not take an oath but by Allah. The Quraish used to take oaths by their fathers. – Sahih Muslim 1646f

Taking an Oath with Insha Allah

If someone says “Insha Allah” while taking the oath, there is no Kaffara for breaking it.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Whoever swears about an oath and says ‘Insha Allah’, then there is no breaking of the oath against him. – Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1531

Taking an Oath unintentionally

It is normal among Arabs to say “Wallahi” during their conversation which does not count as an oath. It is stated in Quran;

Allah will not hold you accountable for unintentional oaths, but for what you intended in your hearts. – Al-Baqarah 2:225

When breaking the oath is better?

We know at least two cases where breaking the oath is recommended by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

1- Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Anyone who takes an oath through which his family may be harmed, he should rather compensate for that oath by making Kaffara.” – Sahih al-Bukhari 6626

2- Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Whoever takes an oath, and then he sees that something else is better than it, then he should make atonement for his oath and then do it. – Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1530

Kaffara for breaking a promise

Many people ask what is the Kaffara for breaking a promise made to Allah or someone else.

It should be noted that there is no Kaffara for breaking a promise if you did not utter the words of the oath. However, one should seek repentance from Allah as violating a promise and commitment is a great sin.

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